CNN was the first news organization to report from Haiti following the earthquake that devastated the tiny Caribbean country in January. That’s when CNN anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien began a journey reporting on Haiti ‘s remarkably inspiring children.
Told through the eyes of two abandoned children and two American missionaries, O’Brien reports a powerful, one-hour CNN documentary on Haiti ‘s children’s before, during and after the earthquake. “Rescued” premieres Saturday, May 8 at 8 PM ET & PT.
After viewing an initial screening of the documentary and being so moved by what he saw, hip hop music artist and philanthropist Wyclef Jean, a son of Haiti, will provide voice-overs of the Creole translations in the program, along with award-winning Haitian novelist Edwidge Danticat.
The two children, six-year-old Cendy Jeune and former child slave Marc Kenson Oliphi are Haitian orphans abandoned years ago by their parents. They represent the children whose faces appear on the worldwide appeals for charity. But Cendy and Marc Kenson are among the lucky. They survived some of the worst poverty imaginable and escaped their hardship when they were taken into an orphanage of an American missionary family. They are bright, strong and full of faith. These are innocent children with promise who represent Haiti ‘s future. Children who one day could rewrite this small nation’s unfortunate history. That is, until the January earthquake erupts and hands them the biggest test of all.
Susette and Bill Manassero are the American missionaries who have devoted their lives to Haiti’s children. They are part of an expansive and controversial missionary community that shelters thousands of Haiti ‘s abandoned children. They manage the Lighthouse Orphanage, and live in Port-au-Prince with their family so that the young Haitians they care for do not have to leave their homeland. Haiti has 380,000 children living as orphans, though O’Brien learns, in a country with unbelievable capacity challenges, the term ‘orphan’ has a complicated meaning.
Said O’Brien, “From the moment I met the children at the Lighthouse orphanage, I knew I had to return to Haiti to help put a face on the hundreds of thousands of orphans living there. Not only are they incredibly strong and inspiring, but they tell the larger story of Haiti and its struggles before and after the devastating earthquake.”
More information on Rescued can be found on CNN.com/Haiti. Viewers can continue to contribute to Haiti relief through CNN’s Impact Your World webpage by visiting CNN.com/Impact.